Chapter 388 – A Warrior’s Death
Zen Phylon slowly opened his eyes tiredly and stared wearily at the monster in front of him, which was holding him up by his shirt front. All around them was blood and death as if a disaster had occurred that decimated much of the Human and Phoenix Clan fighting force. As the monster stared at him with the same emotionless expression in its face, Zen thought back to how events had led to his current predicament.
After defeating two of the Demon Kings and making one so scared that they had to flee, the purple monster began soaring towards them. A few seconds later, it lowered itself to the ground and landed gently while still keeping its eyes fixed on them to not miss any movement.
The Human and Phoenix Clan warriors alike were scared of it because they could not believe that it alone defeated two Demon Kings. It scared them even more upon realising that their leaders, Zen, Darian and Atem, would be no match for that monster. Even Zen remained silent and stared concernedly at the monster as fear gripped his heart, but Darian and Atem were thinking otherwise.
The Sword King moved closer to Zen and said in a quiet voice, “Retreat.” As the Phoenix Emperor stared at him in shock, Darian continued looking at the monster as he said, “We’re no match for that thing, but I and Atem will buy you time to retreat. In the meantime, head the army back to the Floria Kingdom’s barrier and stay put until the Nine Pillars of Power.”
Zen widened his eyes in disbelief and exclaimed, “What?! You’re telling me to abandon the battlefield and return to safety?! Besides, what are you saying you and Atem will buy time for us to retreat?! I won’t accept it! Lucky won’t allow for it!”
“He’s not here right now and frankly, I don’t care,” replied Darian, speaking in a low serious voice. “I can’t condone wasting the lives of precious men! Besides, they’re scared for their life if you take a look at them.”
At that, Zen turned around and was surprised to find the warriors behind him were shaking with eyes wide with fear. There were even those that began crying without realising it due to the intensity of the fear they felt. Both the Humans and the Phoenix Clan warriors were showing similar behaviour of fear as they realised their uselessness.
“Go. We’ll buy you time,” said Atem, who came to stand next to Darian. Just then, the monster began walking towards them at a normal pace, making Atem said sharply, “Go quickly!”
He and Darian surged with power before charging towards the monster before Zen could make them stop. Seeing two of their leaders rush into battle, the armies of both Human and Phoenix Clan were unable to choose whether to fight or retreat. Zen stood there in silence and watch in horror as the Angel and Human rushed at their enemy without a single concern for their own lives.
While rushing at towards the monster, Atem moved ahead of Darian and activating his power, he shouted, “Angel Shine!”
In an instant, a brilliant light erupted from where he was and it caused everyone to either close their eyes, or instantly cover them up with their hands. Even the monster was blindsided as it too closed its eyes from the shining glare. Taking advantage of this and with the light behind him, Darian rushed forward and activated Weapon Force by channelling energy into his blade.
“Slicing Blade!” Darian shouted, and he swung the sword at the monster.
A powerful slicing energy got unleashed from the blade and it soared straight at the monster before managing to slice off its right arm in the process. Darian was momentarily taken aback because he was sure he had aimed at the monster’s body centre, but as it turned out, it had moved slightly to the left in confusion.
“Damn!” Darian said, and he rushed at it once more.
As the blinding light slowly dimmed and vanished, the purple monster opened its eyes and stared as Darian drew closer. Seeing the Sword King aiming to cut the monster down in half, it drew backwards in an attempt to evade it.
At Atem’s shout from behind, the Darian’s sword seemed as if it moved forward and missed the monster. A moment later, Darian’s form became transparent and disappeared, making the monster realise it had reacted to his enemy’s mirage.
This time on target, Darian activated his blade by shouting, “Double Edge!”
In a swift movement, he swung his sword upward and sliced the upper portion of the monster’s body to its brain in half. In the next moment, Darian moved the sword sideways keeping the same stance before aiming its back side at the monster before slicing the upper half of the monster’s body in the same flowing movement.
The monster blinked as if it was surprised from what just happened when Atem suddenly appeared hovering above its head. Placing his hand down firmly on the split skull of the monster, the Angel activated his magic by shouting the technique name out loud.
The monster’s entire body began emanating a sinister glowing light before it erupted into countless pieces. Seemingly winning the battle, everyone at the safety distance began to cheer, but Zen did not join them. He knew it was not over because he could still sense the lingering life force of the monster. Everyone else, who had the same ability to sense the life force, did not bother due to the sudden relief from seeing the impossibly powerful enemy being defeated right before their eyes.
At that moment, Darian turned around and yelled at the top of his lungs, “What are you doing?! Retreat!”
The cheering suddenly stopped as, at that moment, many pieces of purple objects began sprouting from out of the ground. There were countless of them around, and they very quickly grew into large forms before transforming into their purple monster forms. Seeing that the one enemy suddenly multiply into countless masses shocked the Humans and Phoenix Clan alike.
Once again, the armies were gripped with fear and this time, they chose to run for their lives. Turning their back on the mass of purple monsters, everyone began to retreat while screaming in terror. Zen remained in his position, staring at the impossible number of enemies facing them.
Seeing the united army retreating, the many purple monsters suddenly transformed into small purple light balls. The next moment, they soared high into the air and flew straight towards the retreating warriors at an incredible speed.
Seeing this, Zen turned around and yelled, “Look out!”
It was too late as the speeding balls of purple light rained down on the retreating army, with each ball of light fusing itself into each and every one of them. This made them all fall over and collapse heavily on the ground. A moment later, they recovered and rose to their feet to check on themselves to see what had happened. Noticing nothing had happened, they turned to run again when they each stared to see their bodies swelling up.
“What’s happening?!” several yelled in shock.
Horror filled them as their bodies began to balloon out of control and grew to an extremely large size with their hands misshapen and legs seemly lose their straightness. Their eyes seemed to pop out of their sockets, their mouths gaping wildly with salivary dripping wily out of their misshaped mouths.
Zen, watching from afar, wanted to move to help, but he could only stand there and watch as the warriors ballooned to massive sizes that no longer resembled a human being. It continued like this for a few seconds before ultimately everyone exploded into pieces, causing blood to fly in all directions.
One second, the ground was neat and clean with grass, but the next it was dyed with the blood of the hundreds of warriors that were killed by the monster. Where the warriors had exploded, only the purple glowing balls of light remained, and they soon transformed into their purple monster forms.
As silence stretched on the battlefield, the Phoenix Emperor flew into a mighty rage that made him surge with wild power and caused the ground to shake violently. Darian and Atem, who were slightly at the distance from him, braced themselves for the shock waves and wild blowing winds that hit them as Zen screamed in rage. Watching the helplessly retreating warriors being killed in such a gruesome way did not sit well with him, which is why he flew into a wild rage.
“Damn you!!!” he roared, glaring madly at them while surging with power that radiated red aura that surrounded him. He aimed his hands at the place his enemies were at and yelled, “Multi Case: Incinerate!”
In that instant, multiple magic circles appeared all around the monsters and surrounded them in the process. A moment later, wild billowing fire erupted out of the circles and engulfed the monsters, causing them to seemingly consumed by the flames. Zen remained there and watched as the flames slowly dimmed to reveal the monster still standing there, looking unharmed from his perspective.
Growing mad, he kicked off the ground and flew high into the air at an incredible speed, reading great height in a matter of seconds. After reaching a certain height, he stopped to hover in mid-air while glaring down at the enemies down on the ground.
“Phoenix Fury!” he yelled in a voice filled with rage.
He suddenly became engulfed by furiously burning flames that soon took the form of a bird, a phoenix to be exact. It made a loud screech that caused the wind to be blown wildly around and cracked the ground everywhere. As he roared with power, the burning phoenix left him and soared towards the ground before engulfing all the purple monsters surrounding them.
Soon, the flames slowly died down and revealed that much of the monster masses have been reduced to ashes. This caused the monster to unite into one being by transforming itself into a ball of light before soared towards one point. As all gathered there, the light transformed into the original purple monster.
“Chance!” Atem said and rushed at the monster before neither Darian and Zen could act.
He momentarily activated a magic spell that made him go invisible as he continued to soar towards the monster. His confidence in attacking the monster straight up was because he was sure it could not see him nor track him. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned the monster vanished right before where Atem attempted to punch him in the face.
As he went through, his eyes widened in shock as he found the monster standing in front of him, making him realise he had been affected by a mirage magic spell. Cursing himself for not thinking about it, he attempted to land when the purple monster grabbed him by the face and with immense force, hurled him into the air at an angle aimed at the kingdom.
Zen calmed down somewhat from shock of seeing the Angel fly away at super speed away from the battle and towards where the Floria Kingdom was located. He slowly descended towards the ground and stood next to where the Sword King stood staring intently at the monster.
“We’re all that’s left to stand in its way,” said Darian in a quiet voice, and Zen nodded in agreement. “With its power, there’s no way the barrier could hold it back. So, even if it costs us out lives, we have to hold it here and give time for the Nine Pillars of Power to arrive.”
“What if he doesn’t arrive soon?” Zen asked, feeling suddenly anxious at the very thought.
Darian remained silent for a moment before he replied, “I can feel it. Call it a hunch, a hunch of a 300-years-old warrior’s experience, or a gut feeling, but I know he’ll be coming.”
Zen stared at him for a moment in silence before he smiled and said, “That’s reassuring.”
The Sword King nodded, and the two warriors braced themselves for the upcoming battle as the monster slowly walked towards them. The next moment, it vanished on the spot and reappearing standing before them, surprising Darian and Zen in the process. They attempted to retaliate when the monster attacked first, punching Zen in the face so hard that his nose broke and sent him flying while releasing a stream of blood behind.
Darian did not have time to call out his comrade’s name because the monster turned to attack him. The Sword King quickly moved his sword in defence and protected himself before pushed back with his feet getting dragged on his feet from the force of impact. The monster moved in and began to savagely attack Darian just as Zen crash landed several meters away.
It suddenly became a furious battle for survival for Darian, who was swinging his sword as fast as he could against the monster that was throwing its fists rapidly at him. Several times, Darian managed to cut the monster and even cut off its fingers, but the monster seemed undaunted as its wounds began healing automatically and regrew new fingers instead.
Meanwhile, Zen slowly recovered and used magic to stop the blood from flowing out of his broken nose, which stung painfully. Still, he focused on his enemy battling Darian before charging toward it at high speed. The moment he reached the monster, who had just destroyed the blade off Darian’s sword and sent him flying away from the force of impact, punched the monster firmly on the side of its face.
“Fire Punch!” Zen shouted the moment his fist made contact against the face.
His fist got engulfed by burning flames that left a painful scorch mark on the monster before sending it flying away. While flying through the air, it quickly recovered from the blow and landed on its feet before racing towards Zen at an incredible speed that took him off-guard. Realising this in an instant, the Phoenix Emperor raised his hands in front of him and took the blow, causing his right arm to break with a painful cracking sound.
“AARRGGGHHHH!!!” Zen yelled, whose broken arm waved wildly beside him.
Taking advantage of his distracted state of mind from the pain caused by his broken arm, the purple monster continuously beat him into a pulp. There was no chance of escape, there was no chance of retaliation and there was no chance of mercy shown by the monster as it, in cold blood, grabbed the working arm and with force, detached it. Zen screams were heard loud and clear as he stood wobbling weakly with a missing limn and a broken arm.
The monster chewed on the removed arm and slurped its blood as if tasting what it was like to eat the flesh and drink the blood of a Phoenix Clan warrior. It seemed that it did not like it as it spat the blood out and threw the arm away in a disgusted mannerism before turning to focus at the weakened state its enemy was reduced to.
Zen stood there swaying on the spot with his eyes becoming unfocused from the pain of losing a limb, having the nose and the other arm broken. His mind was reeling from the pain, and he stood defencelessly as the monster approach him with an intent to finish the job of killing him. Just before it could accomplish it, however, Darian came from the side and smashed his knee into its face.
As the monster got sent flying, Zen knelt down in dizziness and finally collapsed onto the ground. Darian quickly knelt down and checked to see if Zen was in any immediate danger before noticing the missing limb on his body. A dark look appeared on his face before he closed his eyes momentarily before rising to his feet. Gently, he patted Zen on the head with a sympathetic smile formed on his face before rising to his feet.
“Damn… Looks like it’s the end of the road for us…” said Darian, staring at his empty hands since his sword was broken earlier. He remained silent for a moment as he contemplated about something before coming to a firm decision as he said, “Alright. Guess it’s my turn now to follow everyone else.”
With his end awaiting him and knowing that it would be too late before the Nine Pillars of Power arrived, he decided to use it life as a last-ditch effort to stop the monster. He knew it would not kill it but it at least would slow it down and give his allies enough time to come to the rescue of the Phoenix Emperor.
As his thoughts came to an end, Darian shouted, “Power Mode!”
In an instant, he began to surge with wild power while radiating golden aura that surrounded him. At the same time, his hair changed from complete black to having red colour to the back of his hair. The technique he used was part of the Three Modes of Life where the Power Mode that drastically increases the power, speed and strength of the user, but the side effects are intense. Even as he stood there, his skin slowly began to shrivel up as it began to catch up to his true age.
It took him a few moments to gather up the energy and all the while, the monster was picking itself off the ground. He knew he was going to die after using this because the technique he had in mind would require every ounce of strength, energy and power from him. The reason he continued with this self-sacrificial plan was due to him no longer willing to prologue his life.
He had lived for over 300 years and during this time, he made a lot of impact in society, created a long friendship with Rumble, found great satisfaction in bringing up Indra, Lashman’s father, as if he was his own son and experiencing true love with his wife, Marilia. She was the main cause of him stopping the use of Saver Mode, which he had used to live over 300 years, to spend his time with everyone and pass away like everyone else did before him.
As the monster rose to its feet, Darian completed his preparation and glared fiercely at it. Turning around, the monster looked at him with the same expressionless face that gave it an innocent look. Darian, on the other hand, was prepared to take his own life to give his allies enough time to come to Zen’s rescue and finally destroy that monster.
He did not know whether the monster would understand the taunt, but he monster did disappear and reappear standing before him. Expecting this, he backed away quickly to avoid its first attack before pulled his fist back for his last and final attack.
As he yelled the technique name out loud, he unleashed his fist and smashed it into the gut of the monster. In an instant, an enormous force of wind was unleashed as it began buffeting them wildly in its wake. The next, the monster gaped open its mouth in shock from the impact, causing it to let out a small moan for the first time since the battle began.
His body slowly began withering away like a flower dying, but the Sword King exerted more energy and power while roared, “AAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!”
He pushed forward with all his might and pushed all he had against the monster that had decimated the entire human and phoenix clan army as well as rendering Atem and Zen useless. With a tremendous force, a large hole burst through the monster’s stomach and chest before pushing the monster away by the wind.
As it landed on its feet, it began to writhe in pain as its entire body experienced something strange and painful. Soon, like it did to the warriors that the monster killed, the monster began to balloon to a large size before finally exploding into tiny pieces that scattered everywhere.
Darian stood there and breathed heavily as his entire body began to wither away from the overuse of his power. Despite it, however, he began to smile in satisfaction as he had achieved the intended goal he had set himself to accomplish.
“Now… it’s going to take some time before it gets together, giving Lucky and the others time to get out of their training world,” he said quietly, sighing deeply in satisfaction.
While he lost most of his lower part of the body and slowly his hands as well, he turned and looked towards the Floria Kingdom one final time. He was satisfied of dying by helping his comrades, and he was satisfied dying as a warrior like he always envisioned. Still, a part of him felt a little regret that he could not see his friends and wife one last time, especially Marilia and Lakshman.
Memories began playing through his mind of the time that he first met Marilia as a passer-by and falling head-over-heels for her. It had been difficult for him to earn her love and it was especially difficult because of his true age. Still, he persisted thanks to Rumble’s encouragement and finally earned her love after saving the Rodfox Kingdom’s capital from a large group of bandits later turned into mercenaries.
Things were looking good up until Marilia’s parents refused to hand him their daughter in marriage. They saw him as an abomination since he had been living for 300 years. Marilia, on the other hand, cared about the man himself and abandoned her parents and siblings to come with Darian. Soon, they got married with witnesses including Rumble, Indra, Lakshmi and several other close friends.
After a few years of peaceful life, they discovered that Marilia cannot conceive babies much to her shock. It was a terrible blow to her, but promise her he will not marry another woman because she is his only one. Several years went by and they learnt of Indra’s first child being born, but they did not visit him since he felt Marilia might be upset. So, they lived in peace with Darian using Saver Mode to keep himself in his child form until her age was close to his true age.
The memories shifted to the time when Lakshman arrived at his training centre to get stronger before departing on their journey to Floria Kingdom to prove Felix’s innocence from the Trail of Betrayal. Marilia was smitten by the innocence of the young boy who possessed an unnatural power. He witnessed the growing strength of the young boy who gradually ascended to becoming the Phoenix Titan and soon saving the kingdom from the invasion led by the Demon Emperor of that time.
Marilia considered Lakshman as the son they never had. In truth, he considered Indra as his son before marrying Marilia. This meant that Lakshman was like a grandson to him and while he did not show it to his wife, he was fond of the young boy and took it upon himself to make him stronger. Seeing how that little boy had grown in the years, he felt proud of being one of his teachers, felt respect for how important he became that involved the entire world.
“Ah… He’s definitely special,” he muttered, realising in his life that this was his first time feeling that way about someone. Then he chuckled and said, “Indra and Lakshmi named him well… Lucky.”
With that, he sighed one last time as his upper body slowly withered away as he thought, “I’m sorry, Marilia… I… couldn’t make it back to see you… I’m really… sorry…!”
As his face withered away, a small tear exited his eyes and down his face in his 300-years-of-life as he completely disappeared into the wind. At that moment, in the Floria Kingdom’s castle, Marilia’s heart suddenly tightened as she sensed something had happened to her husband. Call it a wife’s intuition, but she somehow knew that her husband, Darian Ronald, was gone. Unable to control her emotions, she began crying earnestly into her arms, startling and raising the concern of Lakshman’s wives that visited her to keep her company.
Those were the events that led to Zen’s current predicament, who was held by his shirt front as he stared into the expressionless face of the monster. Other than the colour, it could have been mistaken as a human being if it were not for the numerous kills it had committed and the reason Zen had an arm broken and the other missing in action.
“Dammit all…!” he muttered angrily.
He did not know what had happened, or how long it had been since he was unconscious. Using his senses, he realised that he could not sense the life force of the Sword King, which meant that he had died. Lamenting on his death for a brief moment, he stared fiercely into the eyes of the monster that did not care about anything but killing. He also hoped that he could buy enough time by speaking to the monster since it seemed to be observing him for some reason.
“Finish it!” he said hoarsely as he no longer cared for his life and hoping he could buy enough time with his death. “Just know that you’ll be destroyed even if we all died! In the end, victory will be ours!”
Such a need did not arise, however because, at that moment, a familiar deadpan voice said, “Death by Destruction.”
In an instant, an enormous swell of power was unleashed and the pressure in the air became so thick that it created a choking effect. The monster leg of the Zen and turned in the direction the voice originated from, causing Zen to hit the ground with his face down. Lifting his head and coughing the stuff that got into his mouth, he turned to the side and saw someone that made him widen his eyes in both surprise and happiness. Even the intense pressure he felt suddenly became a welcoming comfort.
With black aura emanating from all around them, with deadly red eyes that seemed to glow through the darkness while wearing a white mask with a red smile etched on it, and with its body shrouded in the darkness of its cloak that swayed slightly by the wind. This person was a being that carried with it an air of mystery while his power resonated with death, and it was a being feared as one of the strongest members of the Nine Pillars of Power.
“Greetings,” said Sevedant, the Death Titan in a murderous voice as he radiated dark aura that surrounded him.